Discover’s Double Cash Back for a year promotion is pretty awesome, especially with the Discover It card. For review, the Discover It card offers 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter (up to $1500 spend per quarter), and they have a high paying cash back portal (Discover Deals) for earning extra rewards when shopping online. Often, portal promotions and quarterly 5% cash back categories overlap such that even better rewards are possible. For example, while Discover Deals usually offers 5% cash back at Sears, they often increase that rate to 10%. And, several common 5% categories include Sears.com as an eligible merchant. Past examples include: Home Improvement, Department Stores, or Online Shopping. This year, Sears.com is likely to count for 5% cash back in the 3rd and 4th quarters (we don’t know for sure yet, but I expect the 4th quarter “& More” category to include Sears.com one way or another):
When Discover Deals offers 10% and the Discover It card offers 5%, you can easily stack these rewards to get a 15% rebate for any purchases from Sears.com. Even better, if you’re enrolled in the Double Cash Back promotion, you’ll end up with a total of 30% cash back.
And, of course, it’s possible to take things further as detailed in the post “Sears and Kmart Extreme Stacking.” For an extreme example of Extreme Stacking, please see: Sears Quintuple Dip Results, and why I should have bet more on Discover. When Extreme Stacking is taken to extremes, it’s theoretically possible to get all of your money back for purchases made at Sears or Kmart.
Sears is just one example of how powerful and rewarding it is to have Double Cash Back with the Discover It card. Just the doubling of the 5% categories alone, or the Discover Deals portal alone would be enough to make this combination worth pursuing.
The end is nigh, for some of us
About a year ago, there was a brief window of opportunity in which Discover was letting existing cardholders sign up for their new Double Cash Back for a Year promotion. Then, around mid-June, Discover wised up and decided to limit the offer to new account holders only.
If you signed up for this promotion in late May or early June, then your time may be up.
I logged into my account and initiated an online chat to find out when exactly my magical year was set to expire. The short answer: June 6th. I will earn double rewards for any cash back that appears on the billing statement for the period ending June 6th. Any rewards that post after the 6th will not be doubled. Portal rewards often take two billing cycles to appear. So, I’m long past any chance of getting new portal rewards doubled.
Starting a new clock
Yesterday, my wife signed up for the Discover It card and was instantly approved. By using a referral link (found here), she’ll get a $50 signup bonus after her first purchase (and that will eventually double to $100). More importantly, we can now use her account for the next 12 months in order to get double rewards.
When is the best time to re-start?
The third quarter tends to be a good time for Discover double-dips. My wife could have waited until late in the 3rd quarter to get her card. That way we would have a chance of maximizing the 3rd quarter category both this year and next year. To be honest, we didn’t even think of that until she had already applied.
The second card re-start option
Discover allows people to hold two Discover cards at any one time. So, if you only have one Discover card now, you should be able to sign up for a second card in order to re-start the clock. In my case, that’s not an option. I have both the Discover It and the Discover It Miles cards.
Can I qualify again next year?
I will, of course, keep my Discover It card open until I’ve received my double cash back for the year. That might take a few months still. Then, I’ll have a decision to make. Should I cancel the card so that I can reapply next year after my wife’s card turns into a pumpkin? If I do reapply next year, will I really qualify for Double Cash Back, or does Discover keep track of who has been enrolled before, even if they get a new card?
I probably will take a chance and close my card. The main downside to this is that I’ll have to withdraw all of my Discover Cash Back. I don’t mind taking it out as cash, but I like having some of it available in my Discover account for those times when I want a discount gift card (Discover makes a number of these available). On the other hand, by then my wife should have built up a stash of Discover Cash Back. We can always use her account to get those gift cards.